Gartner Survey of Over 2,000 CIOs Reveals Four Ways to Deliver Digital Dividends and Demonstrate Financial Impact of Technology Investments


In 2023, EMEA CIOs expect their IT budgets to increase 4.4% on average, which is lower than the projected 6.5% global inflation rate. This means that CIOs will have less funding available than last year. A triple squeeze of economic pressure, scarce and expensive talent and ongoing supply challenges is heightening the desire and urgency to realize time to value.

Gartner analysts presented the survey findings during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™, taking place here through Thursday. The 2023 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey gathered data from 2,203 CIO respondents in 81 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $15 trillion in revenue/public-sector budgets and $322 billion in IT spending. In EMEA, 780 CIOs participated in the survey from 51 countries and all major industries, representing nearly $5.9 trillion in revenue and $78 billion in IT spending.

The survey analysis revealed four ways in which CIOs can deliver digital dividends and demonstrate the financial impact of technology investments:

Prioritize the Right Digital Initiatives

In EMEA, survey respondents ranked their executives’ objectives for digital technology investment over the last two years. The top two objectives were to improve operational excellence (53%) and improve customer or citizen experience (44%). In comparison, only 29% cited growing revenue as a primary objective and 22% cited improving cost efficiency.

“Overall, CIOs must prioritize digital initiatives with market-facing, growth impact,” said Sanchez-Reina. “For some CIOs, this means stepping out of their comfort zone of internal back-office automation to instead focus on customer or constituent-facing initiatives.”

In addition, the survey revealed that EMEA CIOs’ business priorities for the remainder of 2022 and next year are growth and digital transformation. CIOs’ top areas of increased spending in 2023 include cyber and information security (70%), business intelligence/data analytics (53%) and cloud platforms (48%). However, just 34% are increasing investment in artificial intelligence (AI) and 24% in hyperautomation.

Create a Metrics Hierarchy

The survey found that 94% of EMEA organizations struggle with developing a vision for digital change, often due to competing expectations from different stakeholders. “We have the chief marketing officer, chief sales officer, chief financial officer and other C-level executives competing with each other in delivering their digital transformation, and this is consuming the CIO’s resources as there is no unified digital strategy,” said Sanchez-Reina.

The main drawback for this lack of digital vision is the inexistence of a common and quantified business objective across the entire organization. “For example, each business unit carries out their own initiatives to improve customer experience, however, they are not aligned to a common business result, such as increasing sales by a certain target,” said Sanchez-Reina.

The solution is for every single business unit to have their own metric that contributes to the same business result.

Contribute IT Talent to a Business-Led Fusion Team

While strategic engagement of business unit leaders is necessary to accelerate digital initiatives, the survey exposed that the heavy burden of digital delivery is still not equally executed among IT and business departments. For example, only 32% of EMEA CIOs said that business functions participate in agile digital execution teams.

“Over-dependence on IT staff for digital delivery reflects a traditional mindset, which can impede agility,” said Sanchez-Reina. “EMEA CIOs must embrace democratized digital delivery by design to accelerate time to value. Equipping and empowering those outside of IT – especially business technologists – to build digitalized capabilities, assets and channels can help achieve business goals faster.”

Loaning IT staff to fusion teams that combine business experts, business technologists and IT staff will catalyze a team that is focused on achieving digital business outcomes, while also opening the way for reciprocity, such as integrating subject-matter experts from the business into an IT-led fusion team.

Reduce the Talent Gap with Unconventional Resources

Many CIOs continue to struggle to hire and retain IT talent to accelerate digital initiatives. However, the survey identified numerous sources of technology talent that are untapped. For example, only 12% of EMEA companies use students (through internships and relationships with schools) to help develop technological capabilities and only 24% use gig workers.

“Talent shortages are among the greatest hindrances to digital,” said Sanchez-Reina. “CIOs are often limited by policies related to preferred providers or employment contracts. They must stress to business and HR leadership that engaging unconventional talent sources can help accelerate the realization of digital dividends.”

Gartner clients can read more in “2023 CIO and Technology Executive Agenda: 4 Actions to Deliver ‘Digital Dividends’.”

About Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ 2022 is the world’s most important gathering for CIOs and other IT executives. IT executives rely on these conferences to learn how to meet the moment and make a difference by providing the vision and results needed to lift their organizations to the next level. Follow news, photos and video coming from Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo on the Gartner Newsroom, on Twitter using #GartnerSYM, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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November 14-16 | India

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